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21/09/2016

one of those sports that I think we have a very rich tradition

TORONTO – The backbone of many wins this season, special teams and goaltending were unable to lift the Leafs to victory once more in an otherwise forgettable performance Thursday night. Mike Brown Jaguars Jersey . Nashville scored a pair of power-play goals and Jonathan Bernier yielded four goals on 28 shots as the Leafs five-game home win streak came to an end in a 4-2 defeat. "We didnt play well enough," said captain Dion Phaneuf simply after the game. "I dont think you can say much more than that." While they scored first for the eighth time in 11 games at home – Peter Hollands first with the club – the Leafs seemed to fizzle out as the final two periods wore on at the ACC. A handful on the forecheck in the opening frame they were increasingly outworked and outmaneuvered by a pesky and relentless Predators squad. "I think our team, they all fit into the same category for us," said head coach Randy Carlyle following the loss, just the third at home for the Leafs this season (8-3-0). "We were flat after the first period. We didnt seem to have any energy, we didnt seem to have any enthusiasm and it just displayed that out on the ice surface." Seth Jones evened the score just over two minutes into the middle frame, his point shot on the man advantage redirecting off the stick of Jay McClement before beating Bernier. The goal marked the first of four straight for the Predators, who have now won three in a row. Matt Cullen would give Nashville the lead midway through period, capitalizing on lax defensive coverage. Craig Smith added a pair thereafter, including the second of two power-play goals for the Predators. Like their penalty kill – which allowed two goals for just the second time all season – the Toronto power-play (no. 1 on home ice this season) also endured a fruitless night, empty on just two opportunities. "It just seemed like the game turned and we couldnt get it back," Carlyle said. A source of so much success and stability for the better part of the season, elite special teams and terrific goaltending have propelled the Leafs to victory on many nights where it might not have been deserved otherwise. But on this night, those two elements could not propel an otherwise listless performance. Five Points 1. Stumbles on the penalty kill The second-ranked unit last season, the Toronto penalty kill hasnt been quite so dominant so far this year. Yielding a pair to the Predators, the special teams unit dropped to 15th best, successful to the tune of 82.4 per cent. Asked if hed been happy with the penalty kill, Carlyle replied, "Not lately. "Our penalty killing has been one of our stronger suits. I think that in the last couple of games weve been exposed. We havent cleared the puck when we have an opportunity – the oppositions been able to keep it in. Faceoffs, we havent got hold-ups at the proper times to get the puck down the ice to 200 feet. Those are the things that you look at and try to dissect and evaluate." Jones scored the first power-play goal on the aforementioned redirection. On the second marker late in that same period, it was Smith who beat Phaneuf to the front of the net before eluding Bernier. "My guy beats me back to the net," Phaneuf said. "Thats just a mistake that shouldnt happen, but they do and weve got to be better as a penalty killing unit. We know that." The Leaf penalty kill has actually been at its worst on home ice. The unit has allowed eight power-play goals on 36 opportunities (77.8 per cent). Certainly an aid to the group when healthy, Mark Fraser missed his second straight game with a left knee injury. 2. Berniers rare off-night versus Nashville Bernier played his 10th career game against Nashville on Thursday night – the most for him individually against any team – losing for just the second time (8-2-0). The 25-year-old, who shut out the Predators on Oct. 10 – his first as a Leaf – entered the night with a mighty .941 save percentage lifetime against a former Western Conference opponent, but was beaten on four of the final 19 shots. The final marker, the second from Smith, was fired innocently from along the boards, bouncing off the glove of Bernier and awkwardly into the net. "Ive got to make sure Im focused all game," said Bernier, who allowed four-plus goals for the third time this season. "It just happens. Those kind of goals will happen in my career. Ive just got to bounce back." Bernier still ranks eighth among save percentage leaders with a .934 mark this season. 3. Goalie dance The Leafs goalie tandem has been about the most successful aspect of the club through the opening quarter of the season. Still early, the tandem approach was worked about as well as general manager Dave Nonis could have imagined when he swung the trade for Bernier in the summer. "This isnt uncommon," said Carlyle of the tandem approach, always baffled by the constant attention surrounding the position in Toronto. "Terry Sawchuk and Johnny Bower played together didnt they? ... Grant Fuhr and Andy Moog were a pretty good tandem in Edmonton in their dynasty years. So there are examples that you can go back to where there has been two goaltenders that have went in and played very well for their hockey club. I think its a sign of strength and I think its a great thing for the organization." Of late, the load in goal has leaned in Berniers direction. Thursday marked his fourth start in the past five games and fifth in seven games this month. 4. Kadri on the edge Former Marlies coach and Oilers bench boss Dallas Eakins often said that Nazem Kadri was at his best on the edge, most effective when enraging the opposition with a belligerent style. "Yeah I agree for sure," said Kadri, returning from a three-game suspension against the Predators. "Especially when things arent going exactly your way you tend to lean to that physical side to get you in the game. If its taking a big hit or a giving a big hit, whatever it is, it kind of wakes you up a little bit and gets you emotionally involved in the game. I think [Dallas] is right and I think he knows me pretty well as a player. I know myself as a player too and sometimes I do have to look to that area to get myself going." Kadri, who was suspended for accidentally running Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom on Nov. 13, said he often has to remind himself on the bench to activate such a game. "If Im not handling the puck or I feel like Im not getting some of the bounces I might just chip it in and go hard as an F1 and try and lay someone out – and hit em clean obviously," he said. "That doesnt just only get yourself going it gets the whole team going. Youd be surprised the reaction you get from the bench." The 23-year-old played 15 minutes in his return against the Predators, scoring a late goal, his sixth this season. Kadri started the game alongside Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, but was flipped onto a unit with Mason Raymond and Colton Orr in the third. "I think he fit in with the rest of our group," said Carlyle of Kadri. 5. Hollands opportunity In his third game with the Leafs, Holland found the back of the net. Pouncing on a puck in the neutral zone, following board battle win from Nik Kulemin, Holland was able to sling one past Predators goaltender Marek Mazanec. With Kadri back from suspension and Tyler Bozak likely to return on Saturday, future opportunity for Holland is certainly in question. "How can it not be on your mind?" said the 22-year-old honestly. "Obviously Naz was back tonight and Bozaks coming back from injury. [But] Im just trying to focus on my game and help this team win." Concluding the night alongside Kessel and van Riemsdyk, Holland played just over 13 minutes against Nashville, dropping eight of 12 faceoffs. Carlyles looming decision at centre ice – at least in the short-term – will likely come down to Holland and Trevor Smith, who had a three-game point streak snapped on Thursday night. One of the two is likely to line up in the third line centre hole when Bozak returns. Bonus Point – Kessels status Thursday marked the fourth time in the past five games that Phil Kessel logged fewer than 16 minutes – 15:27 on this night. Though he scored a pair against the Islanders two nights earlier, Kessel has proven relatively quiet offensively in recent weeks. Asked if he was playing through injury, Carlyle sidestepped carefully. "I think all our players have bumps and bruises," he said. "They all have their ailments." Stat-Pack 2 – Number of times the Leafs have allowed two power-plays in a game this season. 8-2-0 – Career record for Jonathan Bernier against Nashville. 8 – Number of times the Leafs have scored first at the ACC this season. 77.8 per cent – Success rate for the penalty kill on home ice, fifth-worst this season. 8 – Points this season for Morgan Rielly, fourth among rookie defenders. Rielly had a pair of assists on Thursday, his second multi-assist game this season. 5 – Consecutive games with a point for Mason Raymond, who notched an assist on the goal from Kadri. 17 – Points for Raymond this season, second on the team and five back of the 22 points he had in 46 games last season. 59.8 per cent – Success rate for Jerred Smithson on the draw as a Leaf. Smithson went 8-for-9 in the circle against his former team. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-2Season: 23.6 per cent PK: 2-4Season: 82.4 per cent Quote of the Night "Maybe the luck and good fortune that weve enjoyed has turned against us in this game." -Randy Carlyle on the unlucky goals Nashville managed against his team on Thursday night. Up Next The Leafs continue a five-game home stand on Saturday night, playing host to former Leaf Mikhail Grabovski and the Washington Capitals. Brandon Allen Jaguars Jersey . Now tied for second in the league in shootout goals, the 24-year-old likes to see what the opposing goaltender has in store before he ultimately lands on a move. Dan Skuta Jaguars Jersey . With Parker having a quiet game for once, Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw provided the scoring as France won its first major basketball title by beating Lithuania 80-66 on Sunday. It was a victory that ended a decade of frustration for Parker and a talented French generation, which lost the final against Spain two years ago and took bronze in 2005. http://www.shopthejaguarsonline.com/Elite-Chad-Henne-Jaguars-Jersey/ . Badenhop was 2-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 63 relief appearances for Milwaukee this season. He is 18-20 in his career with three saves and a 3.It didnt take Mike Tyson very long to get involved in controversy in his new role as a boxing promoter. The head of USA Boxing came out swinging Tuesday with an open letter to Tyson -- a former Olympic hopeful himself -- that accuses the former heavyweight champion of trying to poach fighters who might be candidates for the U.S. Olympic team in 2016. Dr. Charles Butler said in the letter that recently formed Iron Mike Productions has been offering money to the best amateur fighters to turn pro, in particular an 18-year-old who some in amateur boxing believe to be the countrys best hope for a gold medal at the Rio games. He says the money being offered is "pennies on the dollar" of what the prospects could be worth with an Olympic medal. "Mike, USA Boxing does not have the funds to compete with your offers," the letter said. "If you have money and would like to assist these young athletes and the sport, you should donate for athlete stipends to support the training of these boxers and help your country regain its prominence on the medal stand. Please do not take them from us. If they win a medal for their country, you can always sign them to professional contracts at that time." Tyson did not immediately return a phone call, and publicist Joann Mignano said he would not be commenting. Mignano confirmed, though, that Iron Mike Promotions signed Florida fighter Erickson Lubin on Tuesday, his 18th birthday. Lubin is a two-time Junior Olympic national champion and won the 152-pound division at the National Golden Gloves this year. In his USA Boxing bio he said his goals were to win a gold medal at the Olympics, turn pro and win every title possible. "We want to be competitive and we want to increase our overall performance in the Olympic games," said USA Boxing executive director Anthony Bartkowski. "This is a new strategy of trying to make sure our Olympic-aged athletes are not poached by promoters. In the past, USA Boxxing was passive and just accepted it. Justin Blackmon Jaguars Jersey. " Tyson isnt the only promoter trying to lure amateurs to the pros. Last month, DiBella Entertainment said it signed highly touted 17-year-old Junior "Sugar Boy" Younan from New York to a contract and said he would make his pro debut in late October or early November, after he turned 18. Boxing promoters have long trolled the amateur ranks looking for talent, especially in recent years as the lure of Olympics gold has faded for many fighters. Winning the Olympics was once a guaranteed way to make millions, but as the U.S. Olympic boxing teams have faded so have the prospects for Olympic fighters. The last American man to win an Olympic gold in boxing was Andre Ward in 2004, and last years team in London didnt win a medal of any colour. USA Boxing, meanwhile, has undergone a series of shakeups and its funding has been cut by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The executive director of the USOC said Tuesday that boxing -- which was once dominated by Americans -- is still trying to find a way to replicate earlier successes. "Boxing is one of those sports that I think we have a very rich tradition in, but not a lot of current performance," Scott Blackmun said. "I think the recent reorganization of USA Boxing ... is going to be very, very beneficial because it brings some very independent thinkers to the board. But I dont think you can take away the choices our athletes have. They have to weigh the importance of an Olympic medal and the impact an Olympic medal could have on their lifetime earning capabilities, and weigh that versus the short-term benefits of turning professional." Tyson is somewhat of an unlikely target of an amateur program he used to compete in, making it to within one fight of the Olympics in 1984. He began working as a promoter just recently, joining up with a promotion company called Acquinity Sports to host his first card last month in Verona, N.Y. 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